Straw phonation, or straw singing, has been around for many, many years (centuries, in fact) with the benefits of using the technique both multiple and varied.
From releasing tension in the vocal folds (vocal cords) and in turn strengthening them, to smoothing out voice breaks, increasing range, developing the respiratory muscles, bringing the vocal folds into greater alignment, easing vocal fatigue and improving vocal health, it's a fantastic exercise to add to your practice routine and general, day-to-day singing. Basically, thanks to back-pressure heading back down the vocal tract and through the vocal folds, it helps them to vibrate more easily, with less effort, thus make singing feel easier!
It's a technique I've used regularly in my teaching over the years to help develop some of the above. However, to make this practice even more effective, and therefore see even better results in your vocal development, Rayvox have cleverly created the superb SOVT Straw (Semi-Occluded Vocal Tract, which is a fancy way of saying the mouth is partially closed). It's an adjustable and beautifully designed straw which allows you to vary the diameter (aperture) of the straw to create different resistances.
That in turn means you can vary your practice between, for example, overcoming vocal fatigue or giving your voice a really muscular workout to strengthen the vocal folds. It's completely up to you in terms of how you feel and what you're looking to achieve on any given day.
It's fast becoming a 'must-have' in any vocalist's armoury and so I'm delighted to say that having teamed up with Rayvox, you can now get a 15% discount on your very own SOVT Straw by applying a special Voicecraft Studio code. You get an excellent free downloadable 'How to/Information' guide with every purchase while you can also get 10% OFF on SOVT Streaming Courses, and more, via the SOVT Straw website.
Learn how to use your SOVT Straw and some of the exercises to practice HERE.
HOW TO GET YOUR 15% DISCOUNT
Simply follow the link below, select the straw (and/or a course of your choosing) and at the Checkout page, insert STEVEMORTON into the Discount Code field, apply the code and voila...
You've just chosen to enhance your voice further AND save some cash, too! Great decision.
Keen to learn more about how straw phonation can improve your voice or how to use your fancy new straw more effectively? Get in touch and I'll be happy to help!
Looking to book some vocal sessions this year to fine-tune technique, build up repertoire, generally improve your singing/speaking voice or work on any other aspect that you wish to develop?
Get in touch before January 31st to take advantage of the New Year 10% Discount offer on block bookings.
A minimum of 3 sessions need to be booked and must be redeemed/held within 6 months from the date of purchase. Sessions can be held either online or in person, once face-to-face sessions are able to resume (likely from late February/March, post-lockdown).
So whether you're looking for singing lessons or voice coaching in Newcastle, or are currently based anywhere around the world and want to give your voice a boost via Zoom sessions, there are options to suit whatever you require. Furthermore, it's already proved to be really popular among existing students and clients, and there's still time for you to take advantage of the offer, too.
Don't hang about though - get in touch for more info and to book before it ends!
Happy vocalising in the meantime!
Looking to get that special someone something different this Christmas? Perhaps something musical, creative, fun or which allows them to develop, polish up and hone different skills?
Well, why not get in touch about Gift Vouchers for voice training in 2021?
Whether it's someone who sings professionally or just for fun, or perhaps they're an actor or professional voice user, such as a teacher or business person, sessions can be geared to suit whatever they need, including:
As a leading vocal coach, musician, musical director and educator of many years, I've worked with renowned and legendary music artists, professional singers, teachers and actors, TV personalities, those from the corporate and eduction worlds as well as hobby vocalists who sing purely for fun. Furthermore, I've lectured and taught on numerous Higher & Further education programmes across a variety of universities and colleges.
2021 is sure to be a better, more exciting year so what better time to give that special someone something that pushes them on EVEN further.
To order your Gift Vouchers in time for Christmas or to get more info about them and/or sessions, feel free to get in touch and I'll be happy to help!
From the moment we were released from lockdown, followed by in person singing sessions (socially distanced, of course) being given the go-ahead to resume again, it's been a busy and really fantastic last few weeks.
First up, I had the pleasure of being asked to judge a singing competition in Teeside which saw more than 50 hugely talented vocalists come together from different performing arts studios/schools to perform a range of rep from Musical Theatre to Popular/Contemporary. It was a real treat to listen to so many fantastic voices and offer up feedback and bits of advice for how they can develop even further. Huge thanks to the organisers, Julie & Karen, for asking me and for such a brilliant day (and for the lovely card I received in the post recently). See you again soon!
Next up, as well as a welcome dose of 'normality', it's been great to return to my work in coaching FE and HE students across performing arts colleges and music degree programmes here in the North East. From leading 1:1 sessions to delivering workshops across a wide variety of genres, it's been really great to see all my usual students back, as well as meeting the latest crop of budding performers. I can't wait to see what the next year holds for everyone.
And, finally, after staging sessions on Zoom during lockdown, I'm pleased to say my 1:1 private sessions are back, busy and in full swing. Again, it's been great to see lots of my existing clients, ranging from well-known music artists to developing vocalists/singers, other singing teachers, actors and more. Furthermore, it's been great to meet a number of new ones too, including one of the North East's most recognised TV presenters (who was absolutely to work with!).
So, no matter if you're a professional voice user looking to hone your delivery, or a singer/performer prepping for an upcoming show, audition, recording session or just looking to develop your voice further/overcome a vocal challenge, get in touch and I'll be more than happy to discuss how I can help you achieve your vocal goals. Take care and hopefully see you soon, Steve
much of the understanding and terminology surrounding the singing, and speaking, voice within vocal coaching that exists today. It expects and demands the highest standards of coaching from all who qualify.
And while I draw from a wide-range of ideas, methods, research and personal musical experience through my various roles, it continues to be one of the most powerful voice toolkits and programmes out there. More importantly, through EVT, allied to my wider industry experience and research, I see real development in my clients and students every session.
9 years and counting…
After a tough near-three months in lockdown for everyone, and thanks to the forthcoming relaxation of measures introduced by the UK government, I'm really pleased to announce that I'll be restarting my person-to-person vocal sessions from Tuesday, June 16th.
While delivering 1:1 vocal sessions online has been fantastic and so much more productive for both client and myself than I could possibly have imagined, I'm really excited to be returning to more normal settings. I will, however, still be maintaining social distancing within sessions (approx 3-4 metres) while hand sanitiser will be provided for students to use upon entry. But, I can't wait to resume such sessions and I know from the number of emails and enquiries that I've had over the past couple of weeks from clients asking when normal 1:1 will restart, many students will be too.
Please note though, for those wishing to continue 1:1 sessions online via Zoom, that's absolutely fine and I will be offering that service, too. So, if you're looking to work on your voice, whether for singing or speech, or indeed to hone new/old song material, get in touch and I'll be more than happy to help on whichever platform you prefer.
See you soon and stay safe everyone.
Well, times have certainly changed since my last post in March. Within days of that blog, guidance was escalated rapidly by the government which saw the UK adopt social distancing measures. This was then quickly followed by lockdown measures that we now accept as the daily norm. A real whirlwind of a week.
And while it remains very strange times in which we live, thanks to social media and online video conferencing software, we in the creative industries have been able to explore new areas and platforms for performance, education and training.
It's been absolutely fantastic to see so many musicians, actors and performers come to the fore at this time and help to keep people entertained, engaged and their spirits high. Furthermore, having never previously had to deliver sessions or workshops online before, I've been really pleasantly surprised by just how effective 1:1 voice/singing lessons, vocal masterclasses and even large scale choir rehearsals (of up to 60 vocalists) can be, thanks to software such as Zoom.
While it can obviously never quite replicate the full experience of an actual, physical session, it can certainly get very close and, in some cases, be just as effective for all involved. Indeed, the past few weeks have seen me deliver a variety of 1:1 singing and voice sessions, as well as an entire day of sessions with members of the British Army, which was a real blast. Great guys and really talented musicians, too. Furthermore, over at Voice of the Town, we've been able to take all of our groups online and still have really fun, musically beneficial rehearsals in which we're able to hone parts and look at new material, too.
So if you're interested and able to use this time to develop your voice, whether it be for singing or public speaking, or perhaps even to work on rep or a different style to what you normally perform, get in touch to enquire about online sessions and I'll be more than happy to help.
Take care and stay safe,
It's been an action-packed few months since my last update and the coming few weeks and months provide little let up, too. Following my previous post, Voice of the Town went on to deliver 8 fantastic performances with Take That, Lulu & Rick Astley on their 7 Birmingham Arena shows in front of nightly crowds of 15,000 people. This then culminated in a show at Middlesbrough's Riverside Stadium to an amazing crowd of 30,000 plus. It was an incredible production (as you can see from the pics below) which provided amazing memories.
In terms of voice coaching, the past year has given me the absolute pleasure and privilege of working with a fantastic array of voice clients and students. From working with arguably the hottest talent to emerge from the North East (and to take the likes of Radio 1 etc by storm) in quite some time, to 1:1 sessions with one of the Dragons from BBC's Dragon's Den, to talented actors, West End Performers and fantastically motivated clients preparing for auditions, recording sessions, tours or just simply, to improve their voices, it's been a terrific last year.
Furthermore, I've continued to work closely with a great number of clients who are professional voice users from industries such as business, media and education. These are fields in which those working within them are tasked with using their voices a great deal, and often in important, public arenas and settings. So finding your ideal voice, vocal delivery or simply improving the projection, strength and/or stamina of your speaking voice can crucial in many cases.
And while a confirmed tour in China for this very month (March 2020) with Motown legends Martha Reeves & The Vandellas has ultimately been postponed due to the impact of the coronavirus in the region/across the globe, there's still plenty going on. Closer to home, I really look forward to working members of the British Army for one of their on-going music projects while I continue to work in further and higher educations by providing 1:1 sessions and workshops to the next generation of talented performers. And with a number of performances and shows in the gig calendar, you'll likely see me at a venue/festival in the very near future, here in the North East and beyond.
So if you're looking to improve your voice, whether that be for singing or public speaking/theatre, get in touch and I'll be delighted to discuss, and help you to achieve, your vocal goals.
Working in the music industry really is such an exciting journey, as you never can tell what kind of opportunities might come your way next. But with lots of hard work, and a bit of luck thrown in, life can get pretty interesting.
So it brings me such pleasure that with my company Voice of the Town, our Birmingham and Newcastle choirs will be performing live with Take That in 8 of their upcoming shows as part of their Greatest Hits 2019 tour.
With 7 shows at the stunning Birmingham Arena (between May 12th and May 19th), and a further show at Middlesbrough FC’s Riverside Stadium on June 1st, we have a hugely exciting period ahead of us. Though only able to announce it publicly very recently, we’ve been hard at work in rehearsals over the past few weeks and can’t wait to hit the stage with such a global name and at such fantastic venues.
So keep your eyes peeled for more info after the event unless, of course, we see you there…
Once again, it’s been such a busy last few months that finding time to update here with recent events, has been a real challenge.
With lots of voice coaching sessions, singing lessons, shows/performances, workshops/masterclasses and a cracking tour, it’s certainly been a packed, but really enjoyable, period.
The tail-end of 2018 saw a glut of fantastic shows with Voice of the Town across our groups in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Newcastle. And, it’s more exciting times ahead there too with the launch of our new Coventry group, starting this coming March 18th.
It’s also been great and a real pleasure to be asked back by the likes of Sage Gateshead and Newcastle University to run individual workshops and masterclasses, predominantly in vocal technique, Estill Voice Training, Singing in Popular, Contemporary and Musical Theatre styles, as well as arranging for ensembles/vocal harmony groups. Along with leading the Estill in Popular & Contemporary Music module at Sage Academy, it’s really great to continue working with some of the best upcoming talent in the North East.
And in terms of personal performances/tours, following on from the amazing European tour with Motown legends Martha Reeves & The Vandellas last March, late November/December 2018 saw me playing piano once again for these amazing ladies as we toured with the iconic British Indie/Rock band, Ocean Colour Scene.
As someone who grew up in the 90s, it was incredible to share a tour with these top guys and musicians (who are sounding better than ever it has to be said), while recounting songs from school days. And with shows at the likes of the stunning SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Manchester’s iconic Albert Hall and lots of other top venues around the UK, it was a real privilege to be involved. Check out some of the tour snaps below…
To the present date though, and 2019 already promises to be a fantastic one with some hugely exciting shows in the pipeline (more details to come soon). Furthermore, working on a weekly basis with lots of talented students and clients, be they vocalists, actors, teachers, professional voice users or those requiring voice rehabilitation, in my vocal sessions and singing lessons is always such a pleasure. And if you’re interested in developing your voice, whether that be for singing or speaking, please feel free to get in touch and I’d be delighted to work with you.